Ethiopian Airlines crash liabilities $1 billion

Saul Bowman
April 2, 2019

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Monday it expects to receive Boeing Co's proposed software enhancement package for the grounded 737 MAX "over the coming weeks" after the company had previously said it planned to submit the fix for government approval by last week.

The preliminary conclusion, based on information from the aircraft's data and voice recorders, shows that the malfunctioning automated system may be responsible for the deadly March 10 crash, The Wall Street Journal reported.

If the nose of the Max 8 model rises, threatening a stall, the aircraft's anti-stall device-called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS-automatically points the nose of the plane down to gain speed. Airlines that own Max jets are scrambling other planes to fill some Max flights while canceling others.

It is likely the plane won't return to service until the summer, as investigations continue into the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29 and of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10.

Leaks this week from the crash investigation in Ethiopia and in the USA suggest an automatic anti-stall system was activated at the time of the disaster.

Liability claims related to the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft could be the largest non-war aviation reinsurance claim on record, hitting reinsurers' profitability, reinsurance broker Willis Re said.

Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the accidents, but a preliminary report from Ethiopian authorities is expected within days.

Among the changes, the MCAS will no longer repeatedly make corrections when the pilot tries to regain control, and will automatically disconnect in the event of disagreements between the two "angle of attack", or AOA sensors, the company said last week.

The chief European regulator, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EUASA), effectively replicated the FAA's certification of the 737 Max, as did Transport Canada, in 2017.

The MCAS system is created to automatically point the nose of the jets down if it senses potential for a loss of lift, or aerodynamic stall.

The plane's radio reportedly died moments after the comment was captured.

Candles were lit in tribute to Ethiopian Airlines plane crash victims at the United Nations Environment Assembly, in Nairobi.

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